Biofilm inspired fabrication of functional bacterial cellulose through ex-situ and in-situ approaches

Katie Gilmour, Mahab Aljannat, Christopher Markwell, Paul James, Jane Scott, Yunhong Jiang, Hamdi Torun, Martyn Dade-Robertson, Meng Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
47 Downloads (Pure)


Bacterial cellulose (BC) has been explored for use in a range of applications including tissue engineering and textiles. BC can be produced from waste streams, but sustainable approaches are needed for functionalisation. To this end, BslA, a B. subtilis biofilm protein was produced recombinantly with and without a cellulose binding module (CBM) and the cell free extract was used to treat BC either ex-situ, through drip coating or in-situ, by incorporating during fermentation. The results showed that ex-situ modified BC increased the hydrophobicity and water contact angle reached 120°. In- situ experiments led to a BC film morphological change and mechanical testing demonstrated that addition of BslA with CBM resulted in a stronger, more elastic material. This study presents a nature inspired approach to functionalise BC using a biofilm hydrophobin, and we demonstrate that recombinant proteins could be effective and sustainable molecules for functionalisation of BC materials.
Original languageEnglish
Article number120482
Number of pages11
JournalCarbohydrate Polymers
Early online date22 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2023


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